The Oasis - October 30, 2019

Author: Rev. Dan Hollis
October 30, 2019

October 30, 2019
by Pastor Dan Hollis

     Sitting in my office right now is a bag of dog treats. They’re not the standard cookie-cutter bone shaped biscuit things either; I managed to come into possession of a bag of “gnaw bones,” made of what looks like rawhide wrapped into the shape of a bone. The packaging is very clear to state in multiple places, however, that these are 100% rawhide free. Which is good, because having grown up with a family dog I know that torn pieces of rawhide can sometimes get lodged in pets’ throats or digestive systems. But these are tiny bones. The packaging clearly labels them as “mini.”
     I purchased these treats a few weeks ago, not because I have a dog (I don’t), and not because I’m experimenting with a new fad diet (I’m not), but as a prop for one of my Children’s Messages at church. I needed small, evocatively bone-shaped treats for what I was doing; the purpose I had in mind for them required them to be multiple, small, and very clearly to the eyes of a child “bones.” These treats fit the bill perfectly, and they made for an entertaining and meaningful Children’s Message. If you missed it, I’m not going to explain it now; I want you to be surprised if I use it again in two or three years.
     The point is, I am now in possession of a full bag of sixteen mini 100% rawhide free long-lasting gnaw bones dog treats with real, savory chicken in every bite that elicit long-lasting chewing action and contain no rawhide.
     That Children’s Message is over. I won’t do it again for at least two years, if I ever do at all. And I don’t have a dog. More than that, I wouldn’t want to give this bag of dog treats to one of the dog owners I know in this church or my personal life, because even though there’s no rawhide, these puppies (pardon the pun) are tiny and intricate. The bag comes with feeding instructions, which include: “Always supervise your pet while treating. This treat is suitable for adult dogs over 1 year old, greater than 8 pounds and less than 25 pounds. Always select a treat appropriate for your dog’s size and age. Remove any broken pieces that may pose a swallowing hazard. Avoid giving long lasting chews to dogs known to gulp their food.”
     Do you know how stressful that is to someone considering giving a bag of treats away? What could go wrong? EVERYTHING.
     And so this bag of treats sits, forlorn and useless, in my growing collection of props and crafts and youth-related legerdemain, without purpose or destiny.
     But still I don’t throw it away.
     Sometimes it feels like we can spend our whole lives achieving our goals, accomplishing our purpose, and being of use. For some of us that goal, that purpose that we are meant for, seems so far away it is all but out of reach. But sometimes it doesn’t  take our whole lives to serve our purpose. Sometimes we do what we have set out to do, and realize that we don’t know what comes after. We don’t know who we are when we’re done doing what we were meant to do. What good are we? What is the point of us now? Either we did what we were meant to do, or we failed to do it, and now we’re just sitting there, a useless bag of dog toys, without purpose or function.
     But the reason I haven’t thrown those dog treats away yet—even though I know they will probably go bad long before I can use that same children’s message again—is because I have a feeling they still have a purpose. There’s a use for them down the road that I just haven’t been able to imagine. And I will keep those dog treats and make sure the custodian doesn’t throw them away because I have faith that their work isn’t done yet. Their next purpose has yet to be revealed.
     So too is it with all of us. We aren’t just one thing, and as perfectly as we may be made by God for a certain role or a certain duty or a certain calling in our lives, when that job is over—either because we have completed it, we have failed it, or time has taken its toll and we are no longer able to pursue it—there is yet something more that God has made us for. That God has prepared us for. That we are meant for.
     Until then, we wait on the shelf, eyes wide open, searching for our next goal, in faith that God will reveal it.

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

Pastor Dan’s song of the week: “I Will Survive,” by Gloria Gaynor  

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